National Architects’ Association Honors Local ArchitectRobin L. Murray, FAIA, PP, LEED AP, of Trenton, N.J., was among 104 AIA members who were recently elevated to its prestigious College of Fellows. Murray, a member of AIA-NJ and AIA-Central, was recently invested at a ceremony in New Orleans, La., during the 2011 AIA National Convention.
The honor, which entitles recipients to use the designation FAIA after their names, is awarded to architects for their individual achievements, as well as significant contributions to the profession and practice of architecture on the national level. There are currently 2,700 fellows within the membership of 80,000, only 300 of them women.
“We are honored that a member of our chapter has received this recognition,” said Michael Hanrahan, AIA, president of AIA-NJ. “Robin’s elevation to fellow is well deserved. She has contributed countless hours to AIA-NJ in various leadership positions, has been an inspiration to her students and has worked tirelessly to promote the profession of architecture.”
Murray, principal of rlm architect in Trenton, N.J., was the only architect in New Jersey to be distinguished with the honor of fellowship this year, and was selected to receive the honor because of her professional and volunteer leadership in sustainability, smart growth and livable communities.
Her practice, which is primarily focused in Mercer County, N.J., but stretches to northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania, specializes in sustainable master planning, smart growth and high-tech facilities.
“It’s an honor to be recognized as a fellow of the AIA,” said Murray. “As much time and effort as I’ve dedicated to the AIA over the years, I’ve received more back. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the AIA and AIA-NJ.”
Murray could be described as a revolutionary. In addition to her architectural work, she has been a driving force for women in architecture for more than 30 years.
At the time she entered the profession, only two percent of architects were women. Today, with the help of architects such as Robin Murray, women represent about 12 percent of the 80,000 architects in the country, said Hanrahan.
“Growing up, I knew I wanted a career,” said Murray. “And when I took an architecture course in eighth grade, I knew I wanted that career to be in architecture, despite the fact that I had never met a female architect — at least, not until after I graduated from Cornell University. That’s why I’ve always made an effort to encourage and help women who are interested in architecture, and to show them that we do exist.”
Murray participated in career days for over 20 years, has mentored women throughout her career. She was president of AIA-NJ in 2000, becoming only the second woman to hold the position in 105 years.
She also served as regional director of AIA-NJ and is currently the president of the tri-state Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance, a coalition of government, private and non-profit organizations that helps good smart growth projects gain local approvals.
Professionally, in the past year Murray participated in a brownfield remediation for a new park facility in Trenton, in which her firm designed the renovation of a 1900s-era industrial manufacturing building into a new recreational facility.
In 2002, she created the master plan for Garden State Park, a downtown redevelopment project in Cherry Hill, N.J. The plan involved the revitalization of a former racetrack into a new town center with 1,200 housing units, retail and civic uses and 1 million square feet of commercial space.
Murray has also designed eight Panera Bread restaurants throughout the state, two of which won awards.
Murray’s work has been recognized with awards and published nationally by the Urban Land Institute and the American Planning Association. She has taught architecture, urban design and planning at both Rutgers University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She is also a former deputy executive director of the Office of Smart Growth, a division of the N.J. Department of Community Affairs.